ANI Photo | “There will be light at end of tunnel”: West Bengal Governor on Sandeshkhali unrest

On a day when the Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, arrived in battleground Sandeshkhali after being granted permission to do so by the Chief Justice of the Kolkata High Court, Governor CV Ananda Bose on Tuesday sounded a note of optimism saying something ‘hopeful’ and positive will come out of the disturbing and distressing events in the area of North 24 Parganas district.
Fielding a direct question on the events in Sandeshkhali, a day after a television journalist was detained by the police during a live broadcast from the spot, Governor Bose said, “There will be light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Governor was addressing media persons during a visit to Siliguri on Tuesday to meet the family members of the four children, who died in an accident in Chopra.
The children died allegedly after a mound of soil caved in during drainage expansion near the India-Bangladesh border in Chopra.
Frowning on the Governor meeting members of a BJP fact-finding team, which was stopped on the way to Sandeshkhali, at Raj Bhavan, the TMC said earlier that he should visit Chopra instead. The ruling party also alleged a BSF hand in the deaths of the four children, claiming that they lost their lives during an illegal drain expansion work by the border personnel.
“It is very painful that four children lost their lives. We will stand by their family, parents, and their near and dear ones. I believe that where there is a will there is a way. We will certainly find a solution to the issues here. I am meeting all the stakeholders here, the public, the leaders, the grieving family, civil society, and the BSF. Together, we will find a solution to this. The numbing impact of the deaths of the children will always be there but together we will find a way out for the families to come to terms with it and proceed further in life. We are with them,” the Governor said.
On the TMC’s claim that the BSF was involved in the deaths, the Governor stated, “My reaction to the attitude, approach, and the conduct of the BSF is very positive.”
Earlier, speaking at a press conference in Siliguri, the Governor said the deaths of the children were painful and disturbing and he was visiting the district for a ‘first-time experience’ on the field.
“I came here to have a first-time experience on the field. It is very painful. It disturbs all of us that four young children have lost their lives. The cold hands of death removed from our midst young and vibrant children who would have grown to any heights. We are really sorry for them. I came here to see how their parents feel about it and also what really happened on the field,” the Governor said.
He added that the victims’ families want the culprits identified and punished, as well as immediate relief to the distressed households.
“We should take immediate steps to console and comfort them. In my own humble way, I visited the parents and the dear and near ones of those who lost their lives. Some immediate relief was given to them. What they want is for the culprits to be apprehended and punished. The law will certainly take its course,” Governor Bose said.
On the role of the BSF in the issue, the Governor said the conduct of the central force has been ‘positive’.
“I am very confident that all the stakeholders agree that we should come together and try to address this issue in a very positive manner. The parents of these children are poor and need help. We will give whatever help is required. I also shared certain concerns of the locals with the BSF and I can say that the latter has adopted a positive attitude in the matter which I left it to them to dwell on at length,” he said.
To a specific question on whether the Governor found the BSF to be at fault in this incident, Bose said, “I am not a judge. I have come here for a fact-finding study, not a fault-finding exercise. A crisis has come about. We have to find a solution to the problem. That is my priority. To this end, I feel everybody is cooperating.”
The Governor, however, declined to share any further information on his meeting with the BSF.
“BSF functions under a regime of confidentiality and so does the Governor. What transpired on camera during my meeting with the BSF cannot be made public. However, what I can say with full conviction is that the BSF is playing a very positive role in the matter,” Bose said.
On the relief that has been given to the bereaved families at Chopra, the Govenor said, “An interim relief of one lakh each per family has been sanctioned from the Governor’s fund. The funds to this end will be released immediately. I will take up the matter with the chief minister and the Home Minister at the Centre. We will all work together and see to it that all necessary assistance and benefits are extended to the distressed kin of the child victims.”
To a question on TMC strongman Sheikh Shahjahan of Sandeshkhali, who has been on the run in the wake of the attack on an ED team that was out to raid his residence, the Governor said, “I am in touch with the police.”
On whether the President’s Rule should be imposed in West Bengal in light of the events of Sandeshkhali, the Governor said, “My comments as the constitutional head of the state can only be made public once it is made. I am watching, observing and listening to various opinions raised from here and there.”
Meanwhile, BJP supporters surrounded the Shibpur police station in Howrah and held a sit-in on the road against the Sandeshkhali events and the alleged filing of false charges against BJP workers

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